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Top 100 2017: The final 25 firms to make it on this year's list

See the final 25 firms to make it into this year's Top 100.

James Roberts

Partners Wealth Management, London

Partners, as the name suggests, sees its strength in personnel, and has been grabbing talent as well as growing its own. 2017 saw the first graduates from the firm’s Adviser Academy: an 18-month programme for paraplanners to learn adviser skills. Managing partner James Roberts says next year the firm will hire four to six advisers, with a ‘soft’ target of at least two being female. Partners has been marketing itself as a centre of influence to barristers, divorce lawyers and international clients returning to the UK, and wants clients to be able to view all their invested assets online with integrated valuations, performance graphs, and asset allocation.

Employees: 56

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
86312121400

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
1,9002,2003,100

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808182

Quentin McCormick

Pavis Financial Management, Liverpool

Pavis Financial Management expects to bring its total assets under advice to £190 million this year. Director Quentin McCormick says the firm has taken on further staff, and increased client numbers and revenue in order to achieve this. The goal for next year is to move to a larger premises and start on the firm’s succession plan, which is to create a new holding company with revised shareholders. ‘We shall then capitalise the value of the retiring shareholders’ equity and buy this from them based on a sliding scale of profits over the next three-five years,’ says McCormick.

Employees: 19

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
130150190

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
374500573

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
828582

Julie Wilson

Pen Life Associates, York

Pen Life has grown from £100 million to £450 million under advice in the last five years, using a wide range of mark eting activities from Facebook campaigns to referral schemes, says director Julie Wilson.

All staff are encouraged to train to the highest levels and in the last 12 months three of its advisers have attained chartered status. Senior employees regularly attend seminars and conferences, including in the US, on business management, leadership, and marketing. Pen Life also holds corporate chartered status and the BS8577 standard; and is a member of Sifa and the Society of Later Life Advisers. The firm recruited three apprentices this year.

Employees: 27

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
250315450

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
392461533

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
697375

Craig Palfrey

Penguin Wealth, Cardiff

Cardiff native and Penguin Wealth managing director Craig Palfrey believes in educating his clients and the public. To this end, he has penned a book for the firm called The Wealth Secret, which sets out eight basic principles for individual wealth management and dispels money management myths. Workshops and seminars make up part of Penguin’s educational output, as well as help market the firm, which hopes to have five times last year’s pre-tax profit by the end of this year. Penguin Wealth‘s ‘Penguin Plan’, featured in the firm’s 2016 New Model Adviser® Top 100 entry, is now a core part of the firm’s operation.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
72115145

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
-739200

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
695657

Phil Dendy

Petrus Financial Services, Windsor

Managing director Phil Dendy and his co-directors have steered this chartered firm to £164 million funds under advice and profits of £522,000 by expanding its client base of charities and wealthy families. Last year, the Berkshire-based company also introduced a new client service proposition for retirement planning, which it says has helped increase client numbers, reduce overheads and improve profitability.

Plans for the next 12 months include continuing to offer more technically sophisticated and holistic at-retirement advice; growing IT infrastructure with a focus on linking processes and software tools; and developing a five-year succession plan.

Employees: 10

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
155160164

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
450525522

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
757575

James Priday

Prydis Wealth, Exeter

When Prydis received a Top 100 place last year, director James Priday and the firm were overcoming the recent death of pensions director Scott Harrison. This year, Prydis has gone from strength to strength, having achieved Chartered Insurance Brokers status and increasing its assets under advice from £175 million last year to £210 million projected this year. The authorisation of the firm’s discretionary investment management business, P1 Investment Management, is another one of Prydis’ recent steps forward. Over the next 12 months, the firm will be moving into new headquarters to grow its wealth management, accountancy, legal and property teams.

Employees: 16

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
150175210

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
264312384

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
606565

John Hamilton-Hunt

Punter Southall Financial Management, London

This national chartered firm has achieved a massive £1.85 billion under advice through organic growth and acquisition. Remarkably, for a firm of its size, profits also jumped 42% to £1.7 million this year. This is thanks to investment in IT, including client management system XPlan and other operational streamlining, says managing director John Hamilton-Hunt. This year the firm launched a light-touch service for clients with simpler financial affairs; and has invested 12% of revenue into re-branding and Xplan enhancements. It also plans to launch an apprenticeship programme in 2018. PSFM has a charity committee and supports many causes by matching funds raised by staff.

Employees: 78

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
1,6001,7001,850

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
9011,2001,700

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808585

Hayley North

Rose & North, London

Managing director Hayley North says she has had a crazy year at her blossoming Primrose Hill-based practice. As well as increasing funds by nearly 50% to £30 million, she ran her first Tube train adverts and started a Facebook page. North, who has a Cambridge University master’s and a marketing diploma is also about to start a degree in social psychology. She is a Chartered Champion, and is helping to launch a series of events called Capital Personal Finance Society for the society’s members.

She is also working on an Insurance Institute of London committee on gender and inclusion to launch later this year. North is recruiting for a second office in Norwich.

Employees: 3

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
152130

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
805076

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
405664

Anthony O'Connor

RPG Wealth, Manchester

This year RPG Wealth has grown client numbers, hitting £110 million of assets under advice in the process. This growth has been supported by a number of initiatives, including the launch of a corporate financial planning department and a trainee adviser position, says chartered financial planner Anthony O’Connor. Three staff have also begun the path to reaching the coveted diploma qualification. Next on the firm’s agenda is a plan to host investment forums with clients, which will support existing newsletters and seminars offered by RPG Wealth. Most clients come through parent company Royce Peeling Green Accountants, so a corporate focus runs through a lot of the firm’s work.

Employees: 15

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
95101110

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
295388400

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
727575

Ian Browne

Russell Ulyatt Financial Services, Nottingham

Russell Ulyatt is rapidly becoming a big hitter having increased funds from £296 million to £453 million in the last two years. Among other developments, the chartered firm has implemented a skills development programme for advisers; and filled paraplanner and IT roles. The firm has been coding its new back-office system, a bespoke version of Iress Xplan, to meet its growing infrastructure needs. The firm says it is dedicated to charitable work, and provides financial education through engagement with local schools. Ian Browne is the firm’s head of advice, but it is owned by Kevin Jow and managing director Andy Dyke.

Employees: 57

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
296394453

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
512654832

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
828487

Tim Long

Scrutton Bland Financial Services, Ipswich

The last year has been pivotal for east of England business Scrutton Bland as it has expanded the number of partners on its leadership team from nine to 15. Alongside this the firm opened a new office in Cambridge, and gave technical staff greater autonomy and professional development training to help improve defined benefit pension transfer advice.

According to partner Tim Long, over the next 12 months Scrutton Bland plans to expand further by launching a robo-advice proposition that will point to full, face-to-face advice if the client has more complicated needs. This will be marketed through social media as well as through existing clients, says partner Tim Long.

Employees: 33

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
269285352

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
537472481

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
787073

Matthew Clark

Seabrook Clark, Exeter

Seabrook Clark has grown turnover more than 50% over the last 12 months. This growth is a result of taking on two new advisers, in late 2016, with mature client books. This year managing director Matthew Clark expects business growth to resume its normal path of 10%-15%, which it considers a sensible and controlled rate. The firm has also added a second director and business development manager and given part-time work to two university students to work on the back-office system. With its business strategy consultant also a professor at Exeter University, it is clear plenty of thought has gone into its plans.

Employees: 12

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
334075

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
87177260

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
677580

Richard Skerritt

Skerritt Consultants, Hove

Skerritt Consultants continues to grow at an impressive rate. The firm is nearing £1 billion in assets under advice, and managing director Richard Skerritt expects turnover to hit £6.2 million this year. Despite its growth, Skerritts still manages to record recurring revenue of 96%. Looking to the future, Skerritts plans to launch five funds within the next year. These will be available to clients the firm feels do not fit into model portfolios, as well as other advisers’ clients through a range of platforms. Alongside the new funds, the firm has grown recently by taking on five chartered advisers, as well as an in-house pension transfer specialist.

Employees: 57

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
610750950

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
1,4201,5001,500

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
969696

Kevin Forbes

Strategic Solutions Financial Services, Poole

Long-haired lover of dogs Kevin Forbes and his fellow partners are breeding a business of rare pedigree with funds under advice rising to £425 million, and profits to more than £1 million. Forbes says the apprentice academy is increasingly important in helping fill a pipeline of talent at the business and supporting further growth. The academy has had two participants already and one is now close to chartered status. But it aims to take on four new recruits this year. The chartered firm is also finalising a client app to further improve service and has a strong association with AFC Bournemouth.

Employees: 16

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
255265425

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
6498041,031

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
656570

Ruth Sturkey

The Red House, London

Financial planning firm The Red House has enjoyed sustained growth in recent years, increasing funds under management by £34 million since 2015. This year has seen the firm grow by another 10%, with 10 new clients joining the fold, but managing director Ruth Sturkey still describes it as a year of consolidation. Moving forward, the firm will focus on marketing strategies, launching an interactive website, enhancing its social media policy and throwing a 10th anniversary party with clients. The last year also saw a 10% revenue investment into building its marketing war chest for 2017/18 as well as recruiting a graduate trainee and investing into the PFS Aspire Programme.

Employees: 8

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
92108126

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
354268250

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
858585

Darren Lloyd Thomas

Thomas and Thomas, Pembrokeshire

New Model Adviser® cover star and kick boxing enthusiast Darren Lloyd Thomas describes his best financial plan this year as working with a client’s solicitor to remodel inheritable ISAs into one ethical portfolio . Ethical portfolios are key to Thomas and Thomas this year, with the development of Thomas and Thomas Ethical Investments. ‘Our Pro-Ethical solution has gained real traction with more than £6 million of funds coming across to these ethical portfolios so far in 2017,’ Thomas says. The firm recently hired two graduates, contributing to the firm’s growth, which Thomas hopes will help take the firm past £40 million over the next year.

Employees: 4

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
313237

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
188200260

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
919192

Steve Straw

Thompson & Richardson (Financial Services), Lincoln

This Institute of Financial Planning-accredited firm celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with a rebrand and a fresh look at the future. Under the aegis of director Steve Straw, it is promoting its simplified, restricted advice system to attract the next generation of young clients. It is also starting a long-term programme designed to develop future business owners. As part of this, the firm aims to become 100% independent of its current owners, by passing on client relationships and through coaching and support of its younger staff. Community and charity work includes sponsorship of Lincoln City FC Youth Academy.

Employees: 13

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
7482105

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
206125180

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
454850

George Critchley

True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners, Chorley

Chairman George Critchley and his team have been incredibly busy with the firm reaching £340 million under advice. Recently, it increased its pre-retirement workshops to 100 per year; launched a new website; purchased a client bank; re-qualified for the Investors in P eople Gold accreditation; won several awards; and agreed to provide a financial assistance package to a potential 40,000 Employee Assistance Programme participants. True Bearing has a rolling corporate social responsibility programme, helping many charities and causes; and provides financial education workshops. The firm also runs and finances the Lancashire ‘Last Choir Singing’ competition. Over 2,000 children took part this year.

Employees: 60

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
241307340

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
489145

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
525356

Paul Lothian

Verus Wealth Chartered Financial Planners, Dundee

Verus Wealth has been growing consistently over the past few years. Funds under advice aside, the firm took on both a newly qualified adviser and a second administrator in 2016 followed by a second paraplanner in 2017. Director Paul Lothian is now looking to recruit and train another graduate with the aim of them becoming a diploma-qualified adviser, adding to its graduate recruit from the University of Abertay Dundee. The firm also took part in a ‘virtual walk’ last autumn, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats for the Archie Foundation, a local children’s medical charity. This involved each member of the firm walking 12,000 steps every day during September 2016.

Employees: 6

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
85100120

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
189198330

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
959590

Ken Welsh

VWM Wealth, Glasgow

Managing director Ken Welsh has overcome many challenges at this chartered firm based in Glasgow, including losing 80% of staff following a leadership split. But with much determination the firm has rebounded and is running smoothly, for example, almost doubling funds under advice to £162 million in the last three years. Welsh has implemented a range of strategic measures, such as using Strategic Coach techniques to develop a self-managing company and empower staff decision-making. This is supported by staff share ownership and ‘grow your own’ recruitment. VWM supports two charities with an annual minimum of £1,000, and last year Welsh climbed Mount Kilimanjaro raising over £6,000.

Employees: 8

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
86130162

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
381482661

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
828496

Tony Byrne

Wealth and Tax Management, Milton Keynes

Managing director Tony Byrne has invested 80% of the firm’s revenue back into the business in the last 12 months. Much of the re-investment has focused on developing technology, including the launch of a new back-office system and client portal. The firm will continue improving client service over the next year by hiring a business manager and preparing to open a discretionary investment management offering. Byrne has been encouraging the next generation to consider a career in financial planning through his voluntary work presenting in schools, and is developing young recruits at the firm as part of his succession plan.

Employees: 7

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
657075

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
630133250

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
808285

Simon Redhead

Wealth Solutions (U.K.), Birmingham

Managing director and former semi-professional footballer Simon Redhead always has a new goal in sight. He has nearly quadrupled funds since 2015, from £80 million to £300 million, with help from several acquisitions. To support growth, the Edgbaston firm has a graduate programme and has launched an ‘enterprise management incentive scheme’ to boost retention by giving individuals the opportunity to own shares. Redhead says most of the firm’s profits have been reinvested into business development, acquisitions and staff recruitment and retention. His current ambitions include developing a marketing strategy aimed at professional sportspeople, and continuing to look for firms to buy.

Employees: 19

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
80200300

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
250375600

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
626870

Duncan Glassey

Wealthflow, Edinburgh

Wealthflow celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The chartered and IFP-accredited firm is also celebrating 100% recurring income for the third year running. In the past year the firm has developed a niche, working with high-value medical negligence and catastrophic injury settlements. The goal for the next 12 months is to promote its ‘sudden money’ specialism, with a focus on engaging with Scotland’s and the UK’s legal experts. Wealthflow senior partner, and avid writer, Duncan Glassey is penning a book, due to be completed this year, on the impact of successful settlements to further demonstrate the firm’s expertise in this area.

Employees: 5

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
110110120

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
500550600

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
100100100

Mark Rendall

WFI Financial, Sheffield

This chartered firm has grown funds under advice from £300 million to £450 million in the last three years. Profits have nearly doubled from £1.1 million to £2 million, and recurring income has also jumped significantly from 55% to 85%. WFI joint managing partner Mark Rendall attributes this to successfully attracting referrals from existing clients, accountants and solicitors. The firm, which has five PFS fellows plus three chartered planners, has also recently reinvested 80% of its profits in improving IT, systems and procedures and in paying off all debts. It runs various events throughout the year to help charities including the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Employees: 31

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
300350450

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
110019002000

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
556585

Patrick Murphy

Zen Wealth, London

Patrick Murphy, managing director of this self-proclaimed lifestyle business, has developed a strong brand on top of deliberately gentle growth to £25 million under advice . This enables a balanced approach to life and work and allowed Murphy to spread some goodwill with the establishment of the Zen W ealth Charitable Foundation in 2015. This aims to help relieve poverty and hardship wherever it is found in the world, for example , recently supporting a village in Sri L anka. The firm is chartered, and Murphy has an affiliation with STEP, which has helped him develop Zen Legacy, an estate planning business.

Employees: 3

Funds under advice (£m)

201520162017
182125

Total profits (£000)

201520162017
88112145

Percentage of recurring income (%)

201520162017
909090
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